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Louisville's neighborhoods conjure up too many stereotypes to count. You've got hipster areas, preppy places, neighborhoods where college kids thrive, and of course, ghettos.
It seems as if there's a neighborhood for everyone in Louisville.
And while the city consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the country thanks in part to a strong economy and tons of entertainment, it's not all rainbows and sunshine in Louisville. Some neighborhoods aren't as great as others.
So the question arises, which Louisville neighborhoods are the worst, and which are the best?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Louisville hoods need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Louisville area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the neighborhoods to be amazing, although Bonnycastle ranks way above the rest.
We examined 65 of Louisville's neighborhoods to find out the worst places to live. These places don't quite measure up to Louisville's reputation.
So what's the worst neighborhood to live in Louisville for 2022? According to the most recent census data, Park Hill looks to be the worst neighborhood in Louisville.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Louisville that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
Once you're done, you can look at the bottom of the story for a complete chart of every neighborhood we looked at from worst to best. Looking for places to avoid outside of the city? You can also check out the worst suburbs of Louisville.
For more Kentucky reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Kentucky
- Cheapest Places To Live In Kentucky
- Most Dangerous Cities In Kentucky
The 10 Worst Neighborhoods In Louisville For 2022
Park Hill sounds nice enough. Who wouldn't want to live in a park, located at the top of a hill. Beautiful hikes, with a majestic view of the city below. Perfect, right?
Well, not quite. Parks are actually pretty rare in the neighborhood. What will you find instead of inviting green space? Well, not good-paying jobs. Those are pretty rare around here as well.
Just look at the unemployment rate: 12.4%. Meanwhile, everyone else has to make due with low wages. The median income only tracks at $26,575.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $53,288 (4th worst)
Median Income: $26,575 (13th worst)
More on Park Hill: Data
Ah, California. Gorgeous ocean vistas. Serene coastal breezes. Thriving international cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Just an amazing place to call home.
But wait...that's the state of California. This is the California section of Louisville. Better forget the sea views and world-renowned restaurants. Instead, you've got a poverty-stricken area located a quick 10-minute drive from downtown.
Don't believe us about the poverty part? Well, just look at the statistics. You've got an unemployment rate of 11.1% and a median income of $19,053.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $54,562 (6th worst)
Median Income: $19,053 (worst)
More on California: Data
Sitting just west of downtown, Russell theoretically represents a prime location. A 10-minute drive will take you to the heart of the city. Meanwhile, the Ohio River stands just a few blocks to the north. If you want a road trip, you can jump on I-64 and be out of Kentucky in a matter of minutes.
Escape in either direction might be a good idea. There isn't much waiting for you in Russell. Like so many neighborhoods on this list, a lack of economic opportunity spawns a serious poverty problem. Unemployment hits the double-digit range, while median incomes can't top $20,000.
Still, at least homes are affordable. The median home value equals a mere $30,991.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $30,991 (worst)
Median Income: $19,483 (2nd worst)
More on Russell: Data
Park Duvalle is located along I-264 in the southwestern part of the city, not far from the Ohio River. True to its name, the area actually has a couple nice parks. You'll find Russell Lee Park and Algonquin Park.
The neighborhood also has a great sense of history. The name itself comes from Lucie DuValle, the first woman to serve as the principal of a high school in the city.
Still, economic problems weigh the area down. Park Duvalle counts as the number 3 worst neighborhood in Louisville because of its high unemployment and low incomes. Specifically, the jobless rate reaches 10.4% and the median income comes in at $29,169.
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $78,286 (18th worst)
Median Income: $29,169 (19th worst)
More on Park Duvalle: Data
It doesn't take much research to discover why Southland Park scores the number 5 place on this list of the worst spots in Louisville for 2022. You can start by just looking at a map. The neighborhood is located just west of the airport. Uh oh. Always a red flag. Bad neighborhoods tend to congregate around the airport, because, generally, people don't like living around the sounds and smells of jet traffic.
However, geography isn't the area's only problem. Locals face serious financial pressures as well. High unemployment and low wages represent the main problem. However, home prices also present an issue. The median home value sits at $97,500, compared to a median income of $24,981.
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $97,500 (27th worst)
Median Income: $24,981 (9th worst)
More on Soutland Park: Data
Do the folks in Louisville constantly dream of the West Coast? This list also contains a neighborhood called "California." Now, we've got one known as "Portland." Seems like a pattern is forming. If you're a property developer in Louisville, maybe consider names like "Seattle," "San Diego," or "Vancouver." You should get a lot of interest from the locals.
Of course, it all makes sense. If you lived in this Portland, you might develop a West Coast fantasy as well. In their everyday life, locals face a 10.4% unemployment rate and a $23,489 median income. With those stats, a move out west suddenly seems ideal.
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $42,014 (2nd worst)
Median Income: $23,489 (8th worst)
More on Portland: Data
There once was a man from Limerick. He thought finding a job was magic. He looked all around. But none could be found. So now he's feeling quite sick.
Sorry about that. We couldn't think of anything that rhymes with "number 7 worst neighborhood in Louisville for 2022." At least nothing that fit anapestic meter.
Actually, when thinking about Limerick, unemployment isn't the worst part. This area, located south of downtown, sports a jobless rate of 6.3%. However, the jobs you can find in the neighborhood don't pay well. The median income hovers at $20,201.
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $96,725 (26th worst)
Median Income: $20,201 (4th worst)
More on Limerick: Data
Some parts of Shawnee offer a picturesque spot to spend some time. Nestled into a bend in the Ohio River, west of downtown Louisville, it features plenty of green space along the water. You've got the namesake Shawnee Park, an excellent place for a weekend hike. If you want something more exciting, you can hit the links at the Shawnee Golf Course.
So far, so good. However, as you've probably guessed, problems start to mount as you travel away from the river. These mostly come in the economic category. A median income below $30,000 and double-digit unemployment undermine Shawnee's good points.
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $65,400 (10th worst)
Median Income: $29,058 (18th worst)
More on Shawnee: Data
Like most of the entries on this list, a shaky economy lands Parkland as the number 9 worst neighborhood in Louisville for 2022. That comes with an unemployment rate of 10.9% and a median income of $28,638.
The current financial problems disguise a rich tradition. This area of southwest Louisville goes back to the 19th century, when it was originally known as Homestead. At one point, it was considered an affluent suburb.
Even with the current problems, Parkland has a sense of history. The legendary boxer Muhammad Ali grew up in the area. Nowadays, you can learn about the former champ at his one-time house, now converted into the Muhammad Ali Childhood Home Museum.
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $54,244 (5th worst)
Median Income: $28,638 (16th worst)
More on Parkland: Data
To the northeast of Prestonia, you'll find the Audubon Country Club. That might make you think of this as a classy area, dominated by manicured grass and fresh air.
Hardly. Just look in the other direction. Prestonia sits at the intersection of I-65 and I-264, a web of asphalt and traffic. Cross that and you'll end up at the airport, source of jet-fuel fumes and high-decibel accelerations.
Plus, you've got the usual economic problems. The median income is relatively strong at $43,882, but the unemployment rate remains elevated at 8.9%. Meanwhile, despite the heavy emphasis on transportation, Prestonia sits a good distance from downtown Louisville, limiting the local access to amenities.
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $106,200 (29th worst)
Median Income: $43,882 (39th worst)
More on Prestonia: Data
Methodology: How we determined the worst Louisville neighborhoods in 2022
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what places have the least amount of those things. We threw the following criteria into this analysis in order to get the best, most complete results possible. We used this set of criteria for each neighborhood in Louisville:
- High unemployment (Less jobs)
- Low median income (Less pay)
- Low population density (No things to do)
- Low home values (No one's willing to pay to live here)
- High crime (Estimated)
Then, we ranked each neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky for each of these criteria from worst to best.
Next, we averaged the individual rankings for each criteria into a "Worst Score".
The neighborhood with the lowest "Worst Score" ranks as the worst neighborhood of Louisville.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places around Louisville to live. Or skip to the end to see the list of all 65 neighborhoods ranked from worst to best.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased. Hold on to your pants.
Summary: The Worst Neighborhoods Around Louisville
Well there you have it -- the worst of the neighborhoods in Louisville with Park Hill landing at the bottom of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the neighborhoods in Louisville aren't all bad. Bonnycastle takes the cake as the best place to live in Louisville.
We ranked the neighborhoods from worst to best in the chart below.
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